May 28 2008
One News Now: Farm bill an economic "boondoggle"
A conservative columnist says the massive farm bill enacted by Congress just before the Memorial Day recess is "an egregious form of corporate welfare" that will increase the cost of living for American families and further burden taxpayers.
The farm bill was enacted over the veto of President Bush, who says it makes no sense to hand over billions of taxpayer dollars to food producers who are already enjoying record-high prices for their products.
Sabrina Schaeffer, a visiting fellow at the Independent Women's Forum, calls the bill an economic "boondoggle" that will distort the farm market, hurt small farmers, and burden American consumers with higher food and gas prices.
"The farm lobby likes to pretend that these subsidies are going to sort of help preserve the small family farmer ...," Schaeffer continues. "But the fact of the matter is 60 percent of the direct subsidies ... are going to 10 percent of the wealthiest farmers in America today."
Schaeffer claims that the bill was a way of paying off constituents. "I think that this has a lot to do with Congress wanting to return home to their districts sort of pockets overflowing with goodies for their constituents," she offers. "And unfortunately there are not very many members of Congress who are willing to say, 'Look, enough is enough." She also claims that the bill will inhibit competition and limit consumer choice.
President Bush had requested that direct subsidies be limited to farmers that make under $500,000 a year, but Congress insisted that the subsidies continue to go to farmers who make up to $750,000.